Jacksonville, Florida

  • Michael Stanski

Florida Collaborative Divorce: A tool for divorcing military families?

“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"- Abraham Maslow


No two families are identical. Likewise, no two divorces are the same. For many years trial was the only solution for divorces. Then came mediation as a tool before trial. Recently collaborative divorce was authorized in Florida and is growing in popularity. Military families in the process of divorce should consider this process as an option for their divorce.

What is collaborative divorce? “The collaborative process is an alternative dispute resolution process unlike any other ADR process in a number of ways.

Each party hires their own attorney, who is typically specially trained in the collaborative process, although that is not a legal requirement at this time.

No one, not the clients or the professionals, can be forced to utilize the collaborative process because it is voluntary for both the parties and the professionals.

While it is possible that litigation could result if the parties are unable to resolve their case, the threat of litigation is not used during the collaborative process.

The result of the disqualification requirement is that the attorneys are dedicated to helping the parties resolve all of the issues in their matter....the attorneys are rarely the cause of the negotiation process breaking down.” - THE COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS ACT: THE FUTURE IS NOW, Florida Bar Journal, April 2017.


PROS:

- Does not foreclose traditional litigation (i.e. trial, mediation).

- Consideration for agreement occurs over a long period of time not just one or two days.

- Uses team of advisors as part of the process for resolution.

- Private and confidential; information not submitted to court.

- You and your spouse set the schedule not the court.


CONS:

- Relatively time consuming compared to other litigation in terms of hours expended.

- Requires two set of attorneys if litigation is required.

- Expensive if collaborative process fails.


Why does this matter? Collaborative divorce is another tool for divorcing couples. Is it right for everyone? No, but for those couples who could benefit it is cheaper and faster than traditional litigation.


My office focuses on military families going through divorce. For those families this process has additional benefits:


- Control over time: no more worrying about PCS orders, TDYs, or deployments disrupting the divorce process.

- Team focus: military members and families are familiar with the power of teams and are more likely to easily integrate into the collaborative process.

- Complexity of military benefits: military benefits (especially retirement) are a complex consideration that lends itself well to the collaborative process.


My office will advise you on collaborative process during our consultation and representation.


DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for educational purposes only. Laws, regulations, and rules constantly change and information is valid for the date published only. No legal advice is given. No attorney client relationship has been formed by reading this entry. Each case is different and you should consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction before undergoing any legal proceeding.